Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bread Baking Babes in January: A Spelt bread !

Silence in the refter please! This month we have a real Abbess unofficially presiding our table in the Kitchen of the Month. Astrid at Paulchens Foodblog cordially invited Hildegard of Bingen to provide us with food for the soul and belly.

Saint Hildegard von Bingen lived from 1098 to 1179 in Germany. She joined a Benedictine convent in Disibodenberg and became the Abbess at the age of 35. She wrote down what God told and showed her through visions and published many volumes on science, medicine and theology. She was also very outspoken, going on missionary trips and preaching in other cloisters and in market places. In that day and age I’d think she’d qualify as a Babe avant la lettre no? IMG_3367Anyway, Miss H. was a fervent promoter of spelt as a healthy grain and so we bake a loaf using spelt flour and spelt flakes. Although spelt is similar to wheat in appearance, it has a tougher husk than wheat which may help protect the nutrients in spelt. Spelt flour has a somewhat nuttier and slightly sweeter flavor than whole wheat flour. It contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest.IMG_3368 Below you’ll find the full recipe which I more or less followed. In the presence of an Abbess I hesitate to say so but I innocently (yes I pledge innocence!) committed fraud; using something which I thought was spelt flour and spelt flakes…. but turned out to be a cleverly doctored mix. Doctored with dough enhancers and emulsifiers and thus providing me with giant proofing results. The first rise was huge, the second a bit slower and my final loaf and rolls turned out far less dark and more fluffy than those of my fellow Babes. Wow! We had a hearty breakfast this morning and I have to say my family loved it. But it is in now way similar to what it was supposed to be. IMG_3369Hildegard's Spelt Bread
400 grams spelt flakes
600 grams whole spelt flour
15 grams salt
40 grams fresh yeast
200 ml milk, lukewarm
500 ml water, lukewarm
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Sponge: Mix spelt flakes and spelt flour with the salt. Dissolve yeast in milk and combine everything to a sponge. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 15-20 minutes. Add water and lemon juice to the sponge and knead for at least 15 minutes gradually adding the sunflower oil.

Dough: Form dough ball and coat with warm water. Cover again with kitchen towel and let double in size. Knead for another 2-3 minutes.
Cut dough in 2 equal halves and place each in a baking pan. Cut the surface of both breads about 5 mm deep and let rise again until doubled in size.
Bake the first 15 minutes at 200 °C, then lower heat to 195 °C and bake for another 30 minutes.

Astrid’s Notes:
- The longer you knead the dough, the more air will be incorporated - but be careful not to overknead the dough!
- you can also soak the spelt flakes in the lukewarm milk a while before you assemble the sponge - if you prefer...
- Also: be careful that the dough will not overrise, especially at the last rising step. Spelt loves to overrise if you are not careful enough... at least it does that to me ;)
- It's recommended to place a bowl with water into the oven for the first 15 minutes of baking.
- You can also brush the finished bread with some milk and let dry for about 1 minute in the oven.

The Bread Baking Babes is a closed group of about a dozen of active members and we like it to keep it small and simple.  We love to bake bread and share our experiences while doing so.  Even tho the group is closed we are happy if you’d decide to be part of the whole fun and join us as a Bread Baking Buddy.

What’s this Buddy thing all about?
Every month one of us serves as the kitchen of the month, gathering all other Babes around her kitchen table and chooses the bread we will bake.
Every 16th of a month we all post about the month’s bread and the kitchen of the month invites everyone to join and bake the bread with us. If you decide so you will have until the 29th of every month to bake and post about it. Then simply tell the kitchen of the month that you did and send a link to your post.
The kitchen of the month Babe will then do a roundup with all the Buddies that baked with us and you will even earn a nice Buddy Badge to show on your blog as a little Thank You for baking with us!

So what’s keeping you? Come on and bake with us! See for all relevant info Astrid’s post at Paulchens Foodblog.


  1. I made some spelt bread not too long ago and really enjoyed it. Sounds like you achieved some really great results with this recipe! It's so great that your baking group is still plugging along. I'm envious :)

  2. Hi Kelly, thanks for visiting! Coincidentally I just made or rather tried to make a post based on your cornish pasties... my laptop overheated and went black... all gone! Guess I'll have to do it all over again. Soon I promise

  3. They look great! Love the wee buns. The flour gave you lots of loft and great shaping.
    Wonderful! ☺

  4. A spelt bread; we love just the spelt flavour. thank Hildgard from me.

  5. Wow! I totally love the buns! Your bread really looks awesome, I've never achieved such a great bread with the spelt flour here. :)

  6. Fraud?? that's 10 hail Mary's for you girl!
    I love those buns too, bread looks very good.

  7. I love freshly baked homemade bread. Your spelt bread looks sensational!

  8. I'm so envious of the loft on your spelt bread! I know. It has enhancers. But it doesn't look at all like the brick I produced.

  9. Whatever the means, the end is great! Love the little rolls.

  10. I think they all look gorgeous!


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